x THE CHURCH OF SS. PETER AND MARK 193
to Constantinople. They themselves tarried behind,, as though loth to quit a spot still hallowed by the sacred robe. Upon their return to the capital the pious thieves erected a shrine for their prize on land which they owned in the district of Blachernae, and dedicated the building to SS. Peter and Mark instead of to the Theotokos, as would have been more appropriate, in the hope that they would thus conceal the precious relic from the public eye* and retain it for their special benefit. But the secret leaked out. Whereupon the emperor obliged the two patricians to surrender their treasure, and, after renovating the neighbouring church of the Theotokos of Blachernae, deposited the relic in that sanctuary as its proper home.
The site of that celebrated church lies at a short distance to the west of Hoja Atik Mustapha Jamissi, and is marked by the Holy Well which was attached to it. The well, in whose waters emperors and empresses were wont to bathe, is now enclosed by a modern Greek chapel, and is still the resort of the faithful.
The plan of the church presents the simplest form of the domed-cross type without galleries. The dome, without drum, ribs, or windows, is almost certainly a Turkish reconstruction, but the dome arches and piers are original. The arms of the cross and the small chambers at its angles are covered with barrel vaults, and communicate with one another through lofty, narrow arches. In the treatment of the northern and southern walls of the building considerable architectural elaboration was displayed. At the floor level is a triple arcade ; higher up are three windows resting on the string - course; and still higher a window divided into three lights. The arches in the church are enormously stilted, a feature due to the fact that the only string-course in the building, though structurally corresponding to the vaulting spring, has been placed at the height of what would properly be the column string-course. The three